Experimental Animals
Online ISSN : 1881-7122
Print ISSN : 1341-1357
ISSN-L : 0007-5124
Review: ANDOH-TAJIMA Award
Positional cloning of rat mutant genes reveals new functions of these genes
Takashi Kuramoto
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2023 Volume 72 Issue 1 Pages 1-8


The laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a key model organism for biomedical research. Rats can be subjected to strict genetic and environmental controls. The rat’s large body size is suitable for both surgical operations and repeated measurements of physiological parameters. These advantages have led to the development of numerous rat models for genetic diseases. Forward genetics is a proven approach for identifying the causative genes of these disease models but requires genome resources including genetic markers and genome sequences. Over the last few decades, rat genome resources have been developed and deposited in bioresource centers, which have enabled us to perform positional cloning in rats. To date, more than 100 disease-related genes have been identified by positional cloning. Since some disease models are more accessible in rats than mice, the identification of causative genes in these models has sometimes led to the discovery of novel functions of genes. As before, various mutant rats are also expected to be discovered and developed as disease models in the future. Thus, the forward genetics continues to be an important approach to find genes involved in disease phenotypes in rats. In this review, I provide an overview the development of rat genome resources and describe examples of positional cloning in rats in which novel gene functions have been identified.

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© 2023 Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science

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